Distracting Women from Truth
Nancy Campbell wrote an encouraging post on her Facebook page about wives smiling at their husbands.
“Recently I read about a wife whose husband was unkind to her and didn’t want to spent time with her, choosing to spend all his evenings in other company. She went to a counselor. He didn’t spend hours counseling her, but instead gave her one simple message, ‘Always treat your husband with a smile.’
She began to put it into practice. A few months later she returned to the counselor to say that her husband no longer sought other company, but longed to be with her and treated her with constant love and kindness.
This secret works wonders for a problematic marriage, but also enhances a good marriage. Try it.”
I was the first one to comment and wrote, “Whenever I mentor women in troubled marriages, this is the first assignment I give them: begin smiling at your husband every time you see him. One woman came back a week later and after asking her how it went, she replied, “He knew something was different about me so he asked, ‘Have you lost weight?!'” 🙂
Then right under my comment a woman named Hazel made this comment, “With a marriage that needs a bit of fine tuning, this will work. However, in an abusive marriage, this will only make things worse. I tried Love Dare. The further I got, the worse things became. He soon learned that it didn’t matter what he did, I would still treat him kindly. I did this until it nearly killed me. We’re now divorced and this is the best I’ve felt in years. Yes, life is hard but I no longer have the wet blanket of verbal abuse. The ‘shut up and forgive’ thing only goes so far. It never, ever applies to an abusing marriage.” She received a lot of likes on her comment.
What was Hazel’s goal in writing this? Was it to warn women to not try smiling and being kind towards their husband since it may make it worse? Was it to water down Nancy’s encouraging and wise words to wives in order to distract women from truth? We can’t know for sure but it’s a consistent behavior among many women today. They do it to me frequently, almost daily actually. If I mention the word submission, being kind, loving, or serving our husbands in any way, women scream “abuse” or selfishness on the husband’s part. Why do they have to say anything? It’s as if they believe it’s their job to protect women from our teachings as if our teachings cause harm and abuse.
Smiling and being warm towards our husbands DOESN’T cause abuse. Submitting and serving our husbands DOES NOT cause abuse. Even obeying our husbands DOES NOT cause abuse. Sin causes abuse, period, yet try to encourage women towards becoming godly, submissive wives and some women always have to warn women about abuse and put a negative twist to it. Yes, I know abuse is real and I have posts dedicated to this topic but it’s completely unnecessary and unproductive to write about abuse or husbands maybe or made up faults every time I teach women about treating our husbands with kindness, love, and respect. It takes away from the truth and turns it into something ugly which seems to be their intention.
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:6, 7
19 thoughts on “Distracting Women from Truth”
I guess that they are influenced by a tried and tested technique in the media: take an extreme, rare occurrence and make it sound as common. It shuts down any counter argument. It’s also used by legislators, who forget the old saying: hard cases make bad laws.
Take the abortion debate: suggest any measure to limit abortion and surely someone will mention rape…but those abortions are only a very small minority (about 1%) and most abortion restrictions won’t affect that tiny minority.
This goes on and on with just about anything because these days people take everything personally.
Take breastfeeding or medication free birth : under any article about the benefits of breastfeeding or natural birth, you will find someone saying that she was suicidal because of sleep deprivation / needed an emergency csection to save her life…and how does the author dare to shame her to choose life instead of death?!?
Basically people are throwing tantrums like children and it just works to shut down any debate just like a tantrum in the supermarket works to get sweets.
I have 5 sisters and when I mention this page and being a submissive wife they cry PC and go nuts, people forgets the other side of that lesson. If you chose your husband as the Bible guides, then he will love you as Christ loved the church… including laying down his life. Why wouldn’t you smile at your husband every day knowing he would die for you? I agree with women’s equality, I know my wife is not just equal but better than neon so many ways, but there is nothing wrong or demeaning in any way other than a warped perspective to “submit” to each other
“Why do they have to say anything?” Because misery loves company and since (apparently) it did not work for them, and the failure could not possibly be THEIR fault, they don’t want anyone else to succeed either because that would further highlight and personalize their failure.
So many things are just common sense. Good behavior makes you attractive to your husband. Poor behavior makes you repulsive to him. Who defines good and poor behavior? God does in His word!
The Bible instructs wives to submit to their husbands in everything; just as they would to Jesus Christ Himself (Eph. 5:22-24) and to show their husbands deep respect (Eph. 5:33). The Bible tells wives to do this regardless of how their husbands act. It matters not whether the husband is lost or saved; good, kind and gentle or harsh, unreasonable and cruel (1 Peter 3:1-6 referring back to 1 Peter 2:18-21) you are to submit to him in EVERYTHING unless he asks you to sin. Notice that 1 Peter 3:4 says that true beauty for a woman is that inner quality of a “gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”.
This is the kind of woman a man is naturally going to want to be around. No man wants to be around a woman (or anyone else) who is loud, controlling, contentious, demanding, uncooperative, disobedient and disrespectful. He may be married to you and if he is a Christian he realizes that he is STUCK with you and (out of obedience to God) try his best to love you but he will not like you and he will seek to stay away from your unpleasantness as much as possible. Why? Because it hurts him and causes him misery as your lack of virtue (poor behavior) continues to be a shame to him and rots his bones away like a cancer (Proverbs 12:4) and makes him want to be anywhere but around you (Proverbs 21:9, 21:19, 25:24).
A deeper truth. Ladies who call yourselves Christians, you will either obey Christ (because you truly know and love Him) or you won’t (because you don’t know Him or love Him) (1 John 2:3-5). Your obedience (good behavior) will either make a positive change in your husband… or it won’t but that is really not what God is most concerned with. God is not most concerned with your happiness or whether your husband treats you the way YOU WANT to be treated. God is most concerned with your holiness and whether you are going to obey Him.
Read and understand 1 Peter 2. If you suffer UNJUSTLY in this life (even under a harsh and cruel husband), that is from God and He considers it commendable if you endure unjust suffering because of your commitment to Him (1 Peter 2:19-21). Christ suffered unjustly and if we are His children, we WILL suffer also on this earth and sometimes it will be unjust but, from my observations, most wives are NOT suffering unjustly in regards to their husbands. Most are suffering because they they are doing wrong (behaving poorly) and are bringing the suffering upon themselves. (1 Peter 2:20)
Why doesn’t God change my husband? God can change your husband in a heartbeat if He chooses but in most of life, I believe that God’s blessings and His judgements are built-in and tied to our obedience or disobedience to His word. If we obey Him, blessings will (most often) be the result but if we do not obey Him then we will suffer (justly) for it.
In the VAST majority of instances, changing your husbands behavior toward you does not require years of prayer and fasting and a miracle on Gods part, it just requires obedience to His word on YOUR part. Your best chance at getting your husband to treat you the way you want to be treated is obeying God’s instructions on how YOU treat your husband, but there is another critical key to this. You must be doing it with the right motive! I suspect this is the MAIN reason why it works for some and (appears) not to work for others.
Most of the women who try this and fail is because they are trying with the wrong motives. They are trying to MANIPULATE their husbands to act they way THEY WANT them to act for THEIR OWN selfish purposes and it has nothing to do with their obedience to Christ or His glory. This is how God reveals the truth. Practically, when a (poorly behaving) wife has been SHAMEFUL and ROTTENNESS to her husbands bones for many years and the husband is responding negatively to it, (or just keeping his distance to protect himself from the misery and pain the best he can) even when the husband does start to see a positive change, he will be VERY suspect of it. Is it real or just another form of manipulation?
That is why often, when a wife starts to make positive changes in the way she is treating her husband, many times, things (from her point of view) will get worse before they get better. The husband will see it (believe that it is too good to be true) and become suspect and might take a step or two backwards to observe what is really going on. He might even put a little more fire on you to see if it’s a facade that will quickly melt away or if your changes are deep and genuine. I suspect that this is why the women (like Hazel) who are making these changes with the wrong motives fail. Then, to try and make themselves feel better, they say that God’s word is not true and His ways do not work when the reality is, the failure lies fully with them.
Truth is, if they make the changes for the right reason (to please and glorify God) the result (how their husband changes) becomes much less important, BUT because they did the right thing for the right reason, they will (most often) be rewarded for their obedience (Matthew 6:33) and get the results they desire (Psalm 37:4).
That said… when it is all said and done ladies, there will be some who WILL suffer unjustly (like Job) and this also is the way God designed it for His glory. But for you to claim unjust suffering at the hand of your husband, you MUST be obeying all that God instructs you to in the way you are treating your husband. Otherwise, your suffering is just the result of your own poor behavior and disobedience to God and (per His plan) you are really just getting what you deserve. I know that is tough to hear but I believe it’s as simple as that.
I love this post Lori. On one of the blogs I follow, there are women(even though they are anonymous it’s obviously a woman by the comments) who get all upset over the wives smiling at their husbands. One woman even thought it was demeaning?
I love reading articles by Nancy Campbell and I wish we can make it to her and Colin’s family camps again.
I also just ordered Created to Be His Helpmeet. I read an earlier version of it and was a little shocked by what I read. I understand she has toned it down a bit so I’m looking forward to reading it again.
I gave one girl a copy of created and she said it gave her nightmares. Im still baffled as to how thats even possible. She is bold in her writing but thats the style of where she comes from and how she was raised. Better to read that than sugar coated twaddle!
I completely agree with the frist commenter.
As for Hazel. She was foolish if she believed she had to stay under the same roof as a physicly abusive mate. And depending on then severity, that would cover extreeme verbal abuse as well. She should of continued to do the love dare , or at least smiled, learned how to respectfully defend herself thru biblical counselling and live under a seperate roof for a time, with the intention of moving back in once things improved and under approval by her counsellor. It may of also been appropriate to look into mental illness/addictions on her husbands part.
Lovely post again Lori!
While there is truth written in most of these comments, some appear to need to work on speaking the truth IN LOVE. Wow.
That said… women who are REALLY in, or were in, an abusive relationship are SO broken that is the lens they see everything through. They just do not want someone else to fall into a dangerous trap like they did!
They need to find God, perhaps be physically separate from their abuser, and be healed. The venom and objections that they put forth are spoken from the broken place that they currently stand. Perhaps they are searching for the solution to their marriage by reading your blog? Sadly, someone in a truly abusive relationship is not always in a situation where applying these principles in a way that is safe or wise. With a Godly man, the are golden pieces of advice and instruction. With an abusive narcissist, it can honestly be very dangerous to be humble, vulnerable, submissive, etc.
We are to love them and extend grace, not criticism and judgement. My heart aches for the person for whom it is vulnerable and dangerous to SMILE at their spouse. So sad.
As someone who stood in their shoes, it is easy to see. That was my past, I got out. I got help, I turned my life over to God. Many years later he led me to a wonderful husband. This blog often reminds me of just the thing I need to do now.. and I appreciate it so much.
Please just pray for those that cannot see the wisdom in what you teach. That they may be healed and view the instructions of God clearly, instead of through the lens of abuse they cannot see through now.
Blessings to all… especially to those on the broken path trying to find their way clear.
You are right, Mrs. G., and it makes it hard for those who try to teach the truth of God’s Word because they cry out all of the exceptions instead of learning exactly what is being taught and the goodness of God’s ways.
We reap what we sow and most women who decide to begin loving and serving their husbands will reap husbands who deeply love and appreciate them. It’s as simple as that but we do it in obedience to the Lord, not for what we can gain from it.
Our culture is so against the concept of suffering, even believers, unfortunately. Yes, I know many women who are suffering under the leadership of their disobedient husbands (not physically suffering) but they stand strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. They are lights to their husbands’ darkened souls and many of their husbands are softening towards them. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and speaks of the power of God’s perfect Word to us.
Unfortunately, some women today hate the idea of being kind and loving towards their husbands which is very sad because it is them who are missing out on God’s best for them. Yes, I bet you will love Debi’s book now, Regina. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of time and a softening of one’s heart.
Thanks, but I am not even sure Hazel was being truthful since I have heard this type of argument against obeying truth over and over again. It seems to me to be a distraction to move women away from the beautiful message of God’s Word. Many women today hate the word submission and will do all they can to subvert it.
Speaking the truth is the most loving thing people can do, Yvonne, even if it sounds like hate since to most people the truth sounds like hate. I sure needed a kick in my pants of solid and stern truth to get me to move from a place of rebellion to a place of submission.
I address true abusive situations in other posts and I believe that their intentions are not honorable or good. I’ve been at this long enough to know that they are trying to destroy the ways of the Lord.
I am happy you have learned the beauty of God’s ways! There is no better way to live.
I agree. And Lori was wise enough to include appropriate advice in her post. I didnt read Nancys post as i am not on facebook. But her general audience is women in healthy marriages. Not abusive ones. We all need to be able to recognise if something applies to us or not. An abused lady must find a way to regain her smile. But it requires some healing first. And she needs to get to a safe place in order to do so. Which for some is very hard. Hazel sounds like she still holds some bitterness. Which is understandable, but not necessarily healthy for her. And in the way she crafted her reply, it sounded like she made some foolish judgements, and used those as the reasoning to justify her divorce. I would hope thats not the case. I hope she finds some healing thru Christ. And Joy that only comes from seeking Him.
Submission is not being a doormat. My husband would never make a major decision without my input, but he also knows that I will support him in whatever he decides. I also have family who think submission is a dirty word. I am grateful for women like Lori who aren’t afraid to talk about it.
As some of you may know, I did have an abusive marriage for a while. My husband battled addictions which changed his entire personality. During this horrendous time, submitting and smiling and treating him with kindness DID exacerbate his verbal (and sometimes worse) abuse. Temporary separation, and him kicking his addiction to the curb before us reconciling, was what ended the abuse.
But my smiling and being kind did not cause the abuse – addiction did. Smiling, being kind, and letting him treat me however he wanted didn’t help, though. It made it worse.
I think people confuse kindness, respect and submission with being an abused doormat but they’re not the same things at all.
A man who treats his wife badly is obviously not a very good man. But a good man is never going to be turned into a nasty man by his wife treating him with respect, submitting to him, being kind, and smiling. It just doesn’t work like that.
Trey – you are making it sound as though you condone abuse. Reading your comment, it reads as though if a woman is getting hit, or severely verbally abused, or even suffering financial or sexual abuse, that she just has to suck it up because either a) she deserves it (somehow) or b) the Bible tells us we’re going to suffer on this earth?
Please tell me I’m misunderstanding you, as I don’t believe ANY Christian condones abuse.
I do not condone physical abuse. In this day and age there are plenty of remedies for a wife to choose from but enduring physical abuse is not something she should try and endure. See Lori’s previous posts on this topic.
I do not acknowledge verbal abuse as it’s too hard to define. It can mean just about anything to anyone.
I don’t even know how to address “financial abuse”. Honestly that is a new one for me and could mean anything to anyone. As Christians we all need to understand that our Sovereign God provides differently for us all and we are to be satisfied with His provision in our lives.
I also don’t know how you define sexual abuse. Could mean different things to different people. If it’s against the law, then call the police.
Regarding my comments on getting what we deserve….. Yes, I am telling you that there are causes and effects in this world. In Biblical terminology… we reap what we sow. The Bible is FULL of verses that talk about sowing and reaping.
Regarding suffering. The Bible INDEED does tell us that we are going to suffer and how we should handle it. I will not make any apologies or try and soften what God’s word plainly teaches. Regarding wives and suffering, 1 Peter 3:1-2 (NASB) says, “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”
What does “In the same way” refer to in that verse? It refers to Chapter 2 where (in part) verses 18-21 says, ” Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,”
That word “unreasonable” used in this (NASB) translation is the Greek word “skoliois”. Other versions of the Bible have translated it as “harsh”, “cruel”, “unjust”, “unreasonable”, “perverse”, “wicked”, “unfair”, “ill-tempered”, “froward” and “cross”.
So the plain reading of God’s word does indeed instruct wives that EVEN IF they are married to men that are harsh, cruel, unjust, unreasonable, perverse, wicked, unfair, ill-tempered, froward, and cross, they are still to submit themselves to them and suffer unjustly under their leadership and if they “patiently endue it, this finds favor with God”.
Truth is, this matter of suffering applies to all of us (both husbands and wives) and there are equal numbers of husbands suffering their unsubmissive, contentious, disrespectful, disobedient, ill-tempered, unreasonable, harsh and vexing wives as there are women who are facing those harsh behaviors (listed above) from their husbands. That kind of poor behavior from wives is also ABUSE and has the same negative effects on the men as the poor behavior from the husbands has on their wives. It is all sin but biblically, none of that justifies divorce on the part of either.
Trey – thank you for your response.
The accepted definition of verbal abuse is when a spouse (either husband or wife) is constantly yelling/screaming at their spouse. Not just a little bit (because we all yell sometimes) but a constant thing. Constant insults and criticisms and negativity that results in the other spouse feeling totally downtrodden and browbeaten, intimidated and maybe scared.
Financial abuse is when a spouse (usually the man) does not allow his spouse any money. At all. I’m not talking about a man controlling the finances but ensuring all the needs of the household (including those of his wife and children) are met, as happens in a great many Christian marriages. I’m talking about if he has an addiction to gambling (for example) and locks his wife out of the bank accounts, gambles (or drinks, smokes, whatever) away all the money without giving his wife any of it, in order to feed the children or pay the rent/bills etc. And not just in a one-off thing, but on a regular occasion. Sometimes, if a wife is working, he will even take her wages and spend all them too, not allowing her anything in which to run the household.
And sexual abuse should be fairly self explanatory, especially considering it’s actually a crime. It is any sexual act that the victim does not consent to.
Note: I know that most men are good men who treat their wives well, and I know that just as many men are subject to abuse as women are (in the country I live in at least) but as Lori’s blog is aimed at teaching women, it is concerning to read comments that can be construed (or perhaps misconstrued) as condoning ANY form of abuse, and just expecting the woman to stay in an abusive marriage and submit more. Not all men are good men. A few of them are evil narcissists.
I do not know what country you live in or the culture thereof. From my point of view (I live in Texas), everything you have listed above (although I do not doubt that those situations exist) are extreme cases and probably constitute less than 2% of the “so called” Christian families out there. This isn’t written to that 2% but to the other 98%.
If you have suffered physical abuse at the hand of your husband (or anyone) I am truly sorry that happened to you but your situation (and your method for handling it) does not apply to the VAST majority of those that are reading this and I would hope that you can understand that.
One more thought on suffering. I will leave you with these verses of just some of the things that Paul experienced (and boasted of) in his service as a “bond slave” of Jesus Christ. These verses will put what we (you and I and virtually everyone we know) to shame for complaining about our situations. I will confess to you that I have been more guilty of this than most. Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 (NIV) says:
“… I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”
God allowed Paul (one of the greatest Christians of all times) to suffer all of these things (and more including death) in service to Him. Can any of us really complain the things we (are privileged to) suffer for Jesus Christ our LORD and SAVIOR? Sinful PRIDE tells us that we don’t deserve any of that but the truth is that we ALL deserve much worse.